When management of Rayon Sport ran into a critical financial crisis and made a bold resolve to relocate to the rural domicile Nyanza, Southern Province critics and bitter rivals APR FC thought the ‘enemy’ was finished.
They jumped to such a shallow and flimsy conclusion because an equally strong club- Atraco FC had risen to prominence, won trophies and suddenly ran into bankruptcy, became paupers and got extinguished.
But, of course, Rayon Sport and Atraco are incomparable; Atraco was a football club that had come into existence without firm foundation, no fan-base with amateurish management led by semi-irritate chaps.
On the contrary, Rayon are one of the oldest Rwandan Football clubs with a huge fan-base and an enviable legacy with several domestic and regional trophies.
To be honest, however, considering the financial impediments endured, even the club patrons themselves didn’t expect such an instant resurrection one year down the road. Their arch-rivals army side must have been shocked at the rollercoaster 4-0 thrashing over a month ago.
The fact that Rayon are leading the league table on 51 points with only three games left speaks volumes. And the Blues maintained lead with yet another mauling 5-0 victory against relegation-bound Etincelles in their last outing.
Well, Police FC are only 3 points adrift and in football anything may happen between now and end of the season, but I’m sure with the confidence and thrilling form, Rayon are more that 90 per cent convinced of winning the league title.
But the most interesting bit is that the club management is really very organised and is more concerned about sustainable future strategies.
The other day, I had an ample time listening to the Club chairman, Abdallah Murenzi, who is also the Mayor of Nyanza District and he sounded a passionate patron determined to take back the club where it ought to be.
Clubs like Rayon and APR with legacies should have budgets and development targets. And the Rayon president didn’t mince words, especially on the significance of nurturing a reliable club academy to groom young local talents and retaining a reserve team the same way the other credible clubs manage their affairs.
When such crucial internal affairs are paid due attention, the player-to-club relationship is also made easy and the academy becomes a reliable source of revenue via player transfers. Seasons end and clubs with academies are in serious players transfer business.
And impeccable insiders at The Blues have revealed that there’s a mega plan of reshaping the stadium in the Southern Province in Nyanza to mobilise funds and broaden the fan-base nationally and regionally.
For obvious reasons, the Blues were eliminated from the Peace Cup so early; they are just reorganising with a lean squad and meager budget and the title takes the priority. And of course title holders APR will take consolation when they win the Peace Cup final.
In the meantime, Police FC maintained pressure on Rayon with a late 1-0 win over Musanze FC but even if the Kops side wins the remaining three games they won’t win the league provided Rayon don’t drop more than three points from the available nine.
ALL that is certain is that Rayon players and fans are looking forward to celebrating their first silverware in nine years since they last lifted the league title, while the APR financiers are spending sleepless nights strategising for next season.
Bottom-line, contrary to shallow observations and criticism putting blame squarely on the Ministry of Sports and football governing body FERWAFA, Rwandan football clubs ought to strategise and initiate preliminary revenue sources.